HYDEN BLOG: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly from UFC 302

By: Frank Hyden, MMATorch Senior Columnist

UFC 302 was this past weekend and featured a few exciting fights and
finishes. Who won and who lost? Let’s get to the rundown.

UFC 302
GOOD/UGLY- Randy Brown vs. Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos
They’re exchanging strikes until Brown eyepokes dos Santos. The referee doesn’t even give dos Santos the full five minutes before restarting the fight. Then Brown eyepokes dos Santos again and referee
Gasper Oliver misses it or ignores him for some reason. They exchange a little more and the first round ends. The second round begins with
dos Santos hurting Brown with a stiff right hand that staggers Brown
and allows dos Santos to get a takedown. They’re up and back down
again and dos Santos goes to work as he hunts submissions. Brown reverses at the end of the second round and tries to grab a submission
himself. The third round starts with Brown making with more eyepoke shenanigans. The ref actually stops the action but doesn’t take a
point or anything. What the hell are we doing here? They exchange for
the rest of the round, with Brown coming out ahead but all this BS has
completely soured me on this fight. We go to the judges to render their verdict. Brown wins the bogus decision and improves to 19-5 and
has won 3 straight fights while dos Santos drops to 24-8-1. That doesn’t sit well with me at all. Brown should have had a minimum of 1
point taken away. I actually would prefer a lot more taken away.
The first eyepoke is free. I hate saying it like that but accidents do happen. However, when a fighter is sticking his fingers straight out
at his opponent I would take a point right there, even before an eyepoke happens. I certainly would take a point for a second eyepoke.
For a third (or more) eyepoke? Automatic loss and the victim is awarded a TKO win. I’m so sick of this junk. It makes the UFC look bush league. They don’t allow 12 to 6 elbows and they don’t allow kicks to a downed opponent but oh, sticking your fingers right into a
guy’s eye socket? No problem, carry on. Huh?
Anyway, moving on…

GOOD- Niko Price vs. Alex Morono
They exchange for a bit before Price gets a takedown. They scramble on
the ground and they’re back standing. This time, Morono gets a takedown but after another scramble they’re back to their feet. Price lands a big uppercut and they exchange more strikes before the first
round ends. The second round begins with Price dropping Morono momentarily. Morono is very active, though. Price’s power seems to be
the difference here, though he gets another takedown and now has to
defend submissions. Price is able to avoid trouble, though, and Morono gets up only to be taken down by Price again as the second round ends.

The third round starts with some striking before Price gets another takedown. Morono looks gassed but he’s able to get up and they strike some more until the fight ends. We go to the judges to render their verdict. Price wins the decision and improves to 16-7 with 2 No Contests while Morono drops to 24-10 with 1 No Contest. Good win for Price.

GOOD- Kevin Holland submits Michel Oleksiejczuk
Oleksiejczuk starts off with some big overhands that drop Holland.
However, Holland grabs an armbar and has Oleksiejczuk in a terrible position so he starts yelling to referee Herb Dean to stop the fight.

He even gives Oleksiejczuk plenty of time to tap before breaking Oleksiejczuk’s arm in a nasty way a little over a minute and a half into the first round. Those with a weaker stomach might want to avoid
watching that highlight. Holland improves to 26-11 with 1 No Contest while Oleksiejczuk drops to 19-8 with 1 No Contest. Good win for Holland.

BAD/GOOD- Sean Strickland vs. Paulo Costa
They trade kicks for quite a while before mixing in some punches. Not
a lot happening in the first round. The second round begins with more
kicking. Costa is landing some hard leg kicks but he’s tiring beneath
the relentless forward movement of Strickland, who keeps spamming
front kicks to force Costa backwards. Costa gets dropped by a punch
but is right back up before the second round ends. The third round starts with more of the same, Strickland throwing front kicks while
Costa tries to land strikes of his own. To the horror of everyone
watching, this is a five round fight for absolutely no reason. That
makes zero sense. Nobody wants to see this. You can practically hear
people everywhere asking “Why the -bleep- is this fight still going?”
but there are no answers, only fervent prayers to end this as soon as
possible. The fourth round is a repeat of what’s come before, as is the fifth round.

Let me be clear, Strickland is following a smart strategy to avoid danger while fighting a power puncher. He’s also showing some
impressive cardio. As for Costa, he’s trying his butt off here. You can tell he’s got nothing left in the tank but he’s working as hard as
he possibly can. He’s giving you every ounce he’s got. This just isn’t
a very entertaining fight. Strickland wins the Split Decision thanks
to a terrible scorecard from judge Dave Tirelli to improve to 29-6 while Costa drops to 14-4. Good win for Strickland.

GOOD- Islam Makhachev submits Dustin Poirier
Makhachev successfully defended his UFC Lightweight Championship for
the third time here. They start off striking before Makhachev gets a
takedown and starts working his ground-and-pound. Makhachev is hunting
submissions but Poirier survives the round. The second round begins with Poirier being aggressive and Makhachev trying to get some takedowns off of that but he can’t. Poirier is defending well but Makhachev is outstriking him and he does eventually get a takedown at
the end of the second round. The third round starts with Makhachev
getting Poirier down and then mounts him. Poirier escapes and they go
back to striking. The problem is Makhachev is giving as good as he’s
getting and sometimes better.
The fourth round opens with more striking exchanges, ones Makhachev is
winning more often than not. Poirier is able to stuff most of the takedown attempts, though Makhachev does get him down again. They’re
quickly back on their feet and Poirier has cut Makhachev with some
hard strikes before the fourth round ends. The fifth round begins with
some striking exchanges. Makhachev has a huge cut over his left eye
from a Poirier elbow in the fourth round. Poirier is fighting well but
Makhachev gets the fight to the ground and goes hunting again. This time, he’s able to grab a D’Arce choke and it’s tight. Poirier taps a
bit over halfway through the fifth round. Makhachev improves to 26-1
and has won 14 straight fights while Poirier drops to 30-9 with 1 No Contest.
What a win for Makhachev because Poirier put up a tremendous fight.
Poirier strongly hinted at retiring before this fight and reiterated that after the fight. If he truly does retire he’s had a great career.


Former and longtime WBC Heavyweight Champion Deontay Wilder (43-4-1)
was knocked out by former WBO Interim Heavyweight Champion Zhilei
Zhang (27-2-1) over the weekend as well. He’ll likely retire after this loss but nothing’s official yet. Wilder was one of the hardest punchers in boxing history, his Knockout to Wins ratio of 97.67% being
the highest in heavyweight history. 20 of his 42 Knockouts came in the
1st round. If this is the end for him he’s had a great career as well.

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However, that peace is only temporary. In a shocking act of violence, the monstrous villain Galren strikes from the shadows and changes the
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very much, have a good day.

Comments and suggestions can be emailed to me at hydenfrank@gmail.com and you can follow me on Twitter at @hydenfrank.
Thanks for reading and have a good day.

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